Ex-ESPN Boss John Skipper Calls Tom Brady an “Expensive Trophy” for Fox

The Bucs QB reportedly inked a deal with Fox that will pay him $375 million to become the network's top NFL broadcaster

Tom Brady at the Big Pilot charity golf challenge at Miami Beach Golf Club in 2022
Tom Brady at the Big Pilot charity golf challenge at Miami Beach Golf Club in 2022.
Manny Hernandez/Getty

Appearing on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, former ESPN president John Skipper said he thinks a current superstar NFL quarterback may have been a trophy hire for Fox Sports.

Skipper, who stated earlier this month that he never would have signed Tom Brady to the $375 million deal the 44-year-old reportedly inked with Fox to become the network’s top NFL broadcaster immediately after he’s done playing football, called the seven-time Super Bowl winner a “very, very, very expensive trophy” for Fox with “very little economic value.” 

“They do seem to have been bidding against themselves cause it is the only spot open, again, they’re buying a trophy,” Skipper said. “I think he’ll probably be okay on the game. It doesn’t really matter that much other than for pride and I guess he’ll shake advertisers’ hands.”

Brady will work as a brand ambassador for Fox in addition to calling games and the true value for the network may be in leveraging Brady’s fame and appeal for marketing purposes. Regardless, Skipper, the current CEO of Meadowlark Media, doesn’t think the numbers add up.

“I don’t think that’s necessary, or a good use of $37.5 million,” he said. “At about $100,000 a pop, we could have hired 370 employees for that. For $375 million, you could have bought some live event rights, which would actually make a significant difference. [Brady] does not make a significant difference other than pride and ambassadorship to put somebody in the booth for $37.5 million dollars.”

Skipper said he never paid an on-air talent more than $10 million per year during his time at ESPN. That’s no longer the case as Troy Aikman and Joe Buck, who were at Fox for more than two decades, are now earning substantially more than $10 million per season to call football games for The Worldwide Leader. Their departure is what paved the way for Fox to sign Brady to his massive deal.

Worth it or not, Brady’s contract with Fox certainly has people talking — and he’s not even done playing football yet.

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